Meet the Reds: Pinot Noir

I saved my favorite for last. Yes, I’ve been on a serious Noir kick for the last few years and, once again, it has nothing to do with a certain wine movie I’ve yet to watch. Although, if that had anything to do with Pinot Noirs being easier to find, then, okay, maybe it has a little something to do with it.

As a grape, Pinot is another farmed in the Burgundy region of France as well as Champagne–according to one source 75% of Champagne is produced by Pinot Noir grapes. It’s grown all over Europe, actually, as well as in the States but it does tend to be a finicky grape, high maintenance in soil requirements and enjoys a later harvest than others so many vintners consider it a difficult grape. I think the rewards far outweight the cost.

My love of Pinot Noir came quite by chance. I was browsing the wine aisles of my local World Market when I saw a fun-looking label featuring the See/Hear/Speak No Evil monkeys, that wine was named Pinot Evil (think about it, maybe say it aloud for the joke to kick in). Now, I know certain wine experts have said that anything with an animal on the label isn’t worth drinking but I found this Pinot Noir to be quite delicious, especially for $6.99. The label describes it as “velvety” and I couldn’t agree more. But, hearkening to other reviews I’ve read, do let it breathe for about an hour or so before drinking it. Goes well with almost anything, in our house.

Another good Pinot, this one from California (Pinot Evil is a French Import), comes from Echelon Vineyards in Napa. Carried by our favorite local steakhouse (and retailing for about $10.99 at World Market), it comes off a little sharper than the Pinot Evil but still with the dry dry red characteristics and a bit of spice. Obviously it goes well with steaks and pork chops, but anything rich and saucy would do well with this pairing.